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Wednesday, June 28 2017 @ 10:05 PM EDT

Panama Auto Title Change!

Automobile InsuranceFrom my good friend, Bob Askew............

The auto title change process in Pma is a 3-step process:

Step 1 is a trip (buyer and seller go) to one of the Municipio offices (it's not DMV). The Municipio office in Balboa (old CZ) next to the Niko's Cafeteria is usually convenient and opens early (7 a.m. I think)

Take identity documents (passport if foreigner, or cedula if Panamanian) and (to be safe) 3 copies of each.

Also have the original title doc (Registro Unico de Propiedad Vehicular) and a few copies. Buyer and seller will need to sign the back of old title doc.

Best bring the whole car file of docs. Another document to find is the current vehicle inspection doc (the Revisado) and copies.

There's a copy shop right next to the Balboa Municipio that opens at 8 a.m.

At the Municipio office, take a ticket and wait for your number to be called for their required checks & processing.

Yes, if you care to, you can ask the Municipio guard if he knows a runner to do the whole processing for you ($).

On the documents produced at the Municipio, make sure the buyer's name & ID document number are exactly correct.

The seller's not really needed for step 2 & 3 but the buyer needs to how to get a hold of the seller if there's issues (like unpaid traffic tickets).

More...

Step 2 is deposit $20 into the proper account at a Banco Nacional. There's a branch in Balboa a few hundred yards fm the Municipio.

At the bank customer stand that has the plethora of deposit & withdrawal ships there's an example copy of the made-out deposit slip to "Registro Unico). Believe it or not, you'll probably have to ask the customer svc rep for the proper deposit slip. Don't ask.

You'll need the copy of the deposit slip for step 3.

Step 3 is the ATTT (Autoridad del Transito & Transporte Terrestre) Registro Unico office where they process vehicle title transfers.

I use the one on the top floor of Plaza Concordia in Via Espaņa (across the street from Supermercado Rey). Parking around there is a nightmare. Hint: use the Rey market parking lot and combine a shopping trip with your title transfer.

To get to the ATTT Registro Unico office, exit the Rey and use the nearby pedestrian overpass that goes over Via Espaņa.

As you're exiting the pedestrian overpass, you'll be on the correct floor at Plaza Concordia -- just bear to the right and you'll see the office on the right.

Queue up in the line for the big lady at the desk who checks for all the documents and copies. Oh yes, there's a copy shop nearby.

When you pass the document checker lady, take a seat -- if you've got everything, she'll pass the paperwork to one of the data entry clerks who's end product will be the new title document.

Almost done -- when you're handed the new title, carefully check that the name is spelled exactly like the new owner's identity document and that the identity document number matches exactly.

Other stuff:

- The rules can change at any time.
- If the seller has a vehicle loan, the title must be officially "liberated" after the loan is paid off. Unbelievably this can the bank take 3 weeks.
- Get auto insurance right after getting the new title.
- You do not have to have authorized residency in Pma to get a car titled; however you do to get a Pma driver's license. Dumb, real dumb.
- It is not mandatory that the buyer and seller be at the Municipio for Step 1 -- there's a list of authorizations/notarizations posted at the Municipio if one takes this route.

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